tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 29, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
guides my decisions making. >> that does it for our special with congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez. we have more to talk about tonight keep this conversation going, we'll put it up on our website as a special "all in." special thanks to our guest at college of medicine and alexandriaocasio-cortez. have a good night. happy friday. thanks for joining us this hour. turns out, the news rules of this era we're all living through have not been suspended. it is friday night, and therefore, per unshakable degree from our generation's news gods, things are, of course, a little nuts in tonight's news and we had a bunch of breaking and developing stories over the course of this evening. tonight for example, we have new word that the oversight committee in congress is preparing to subpoena the white house personnel security
director, specifically to respond to on going questions about how this administration has handled or mishandled security clearances. that is a question that started off as an acute one very early on in the trump administration given the criminal charges that were brought against trump national security advisor mike flynn. similar concerns have continued most recently through the reports that presidential son-in-law jared kushner was actually blocked from receiving a top level clearance by career officials based on what he reviewed but for some reason, those views, that determination he shouldn't get a clearance was over ridden by the white house and he was given a clearance anyway. so the white house personnel security director has been or is going to be subpoenaed by the oversight committee. soon after we got word of that subpoena on the security clearance issue, tonight, we also got word that that same oversight committee led by congressman elijah cummings, they are also now seeking to
subpoena commerce secretary wilber ross and william barr subpoenas that for both of those cam anytime oc cabinet officials over wilber ross intervening to add a citizenship question to it. this is a matter courts have repeatedly squished commerce secretary wilber ross like a bug. he is being subpoenaed by congress along with the attorney general to answer to them on that issue, as well. again, both of those stories delivering tonight, developing tonight, both of them breaking late on a friday, naturally. and i think in part this is our life now and the pace in which things happen with this new era we're in but feels like it's specifically our way we celebrate friday nights. all right. what is it about fridays? last friday, for example, you'll remember that was when we got
this letter from newly pint llyd general bill barr that mueller completed his work. mueller completed his work and submitted a written report about what his investigation uncovered in the past year and ten months that announcement from the attorney general a week ago tonight, friday, just confirmed that mueller had finished up. it confirmed that mueller's report existed. it confirmed that mueller was closing down the special counsel's office, but that notice father or mother trom thl didn't say anything substantive about the content of mueller's filings. for that we had to wait two more days until on sunday we got another letter from attorney general bill barr and this one announce what had he called the principle conclusions of mueller's report. he delivered what he said were mueller's principle conclusions and also one of his own, and i
think because it was very exciting to have any official characterization whatsoever of the results of mueller's investigation, i think because of that excitement that there was some content being described, the press for a little while ran with what the attorney general asserted were mueller's findings. but within a few hours for some publication, certainly within a few days for most, i think it started to dawn on everybody in the main stream press and everybody consuming news on this matter that wait a minute, we don't actually have mueller's report at all. mueller's report is done and we know it's done and we know it exists but we haven't seen it. all we have is what william barr said about it and that statement on sunday was in it selself an thing. the attorney general, the way he's written these letters and notifications sound official. they sound like he is fulfilling the duty that is expected of him
as attorney general as we expect him to do, but the attorney general is not supposed to provide a description of a report from a special counsel. there is nothing in the special counsel regulations that creates an expectation that an attorney general would take on the role of interpreting and summarizing a special counsel's report in his own words, let alone announcing his decision whether or not the special counsel's findings should produce any new indictments. but nevertheless, that's what barr did on sunday. we still don't know why exactly he did that. it was -- i mean, it was kind of him free scatyling. this was him making up his own dance moves, showing what he could do now that he had seen mueller's report and he hadn't. that unexpected performance from bill barr, that riff how he thinks he should respond to mueller's report has given us
this weird week we have lived through in which the mueller report is in fact finished. it's being kept under wraps at the department of justice. it hasn't been given to congress. none of it has been shown to the public but the attorney general took it upon himself to describe what he said was in it and what he thinks the president should not be charged about based on something mueller found that we're not allowed to know that he's not even describing in detail. it's been a weird week. that's the assertion that we got from attorney general william barr and based on that the white house and conservative media and good chunk have been celebrating all week long that everything is done now and it sure is a relief after that long investigation to know what robert mueller found, and what robert mueller found was absolutely nothing everything is fine and the reason we know that mueller found that is because that's what william barr told us. he summarized mueller's report so that must be the end.
well, now, tonight, again, happy friday. now tonight it appears that there say little bit of a panic in the disco because now william barr has released yet another unexpected taken it upon himself ad lib figuring it out as he goes along let there appears to be an effort by the attorney general to take back some of what he said last week which started this whole week of trump is exonerated its all over news coverage. the attorney general tonight sent this letter announcing that everybody misinterpreted what he said last weekend in the letter, what he did last week is being talked about in way he didn't expect that is not at all what he meant and we should all know better. quote, i'm aware of some media reports and other public statements mischaracterizing my march 24th supplemental notification. for example, chairman jerry nadler's march 25 letter refers to my supplemental notification
as a quote four-page summery of the special counsel's review. my march 24th letter was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report. as my letter made clear, my notification to congress and the public provided pending release of the report a summery of its principle conclusions. that is its bottom line. i do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to summarize the report or release it in serial or piece mail fashion. i'll keep sending a letter but don't say i'm summarizing it because i'm definitely just describing it and only the parts i want to describe, not actually giving you a summery. it's just bits of it that i think some people might want to hear that i'm going to call the bottom line but it's not a summery. it's another thing that nobody
ever asked me for but that's what i gave you and you should know what it is. for all of the ink and breath involved in the russia investigation trying to figure out the contours of the mueller investigation, trying to anticipate and game out not only what he might find but how it would be handled when he ultimately submitted his findings. i don't think anybody is going to win the kitty for having bet that the way this would be handled is that the attorney general would get the report and ad lib the response and randomly releasing his own assertions about the report and little half sentence quotes from it and he would invent an evolving series of rules for choosing which pieces of the report he might want to keep to himself and not show anybody else. but he does appear to just be dancing here. he's just been, you know, making it up as he goes along.
which is odd in particular because the regulations that the attorney general is operating under here are clear and short and easy to read. i mean, there are regulations that spell out what he is supposed to be doing here. he is supposed to notify congress upon the appointment of a special counsel. well, he wasn't there when mueller was appointed. secondly, he is supposed to notify congress upon removing any special counsel. robert mueller was not removed so he didn't need to tell them anything about that. thirdly and lastly, he's supposed to notify congress upon conclusion of the special investigation and tell congress that the special counsel's investigation has concluded and consistent with applicable law, there is one other thing he's supposed to tell them, give them quote a description and explanation of instances, if any, in which the attorney general concluded that a proposed action by a special counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established
department practices that it should not be pursued. that's the only other thing he's supposed to formally notify congress of. he's supposed to tell them a, mueller is done and b, did mueller want to do anything you blocked him from doing? if so, you have to tell congress. that's what the regulations spell out. there is no provision here that william barr is supposed to provide his own four-page summery. don't call it a summery of what is important to say about muell mueller's findings. he says you shouldn't call it a summery. he didn't mean for it to be called a summery. it was meant to be instead a summery of the report's principle conclusions. that is the bottom line. he's freelancing that, too, nowhere is he assigned to pick out the bottom line, nowhere is he assigned to describe the principle conclusions of anything to anyone. there is nothing that the attorney general is supposed to
give us about the report in his own words because we somehow are not able to discern the meaning of the report itself. we the public or the congress. so how and why did the attorney general decide to do what he's been doing now for a week with the mueller report? he's written up these multiple documents about it now including what appears to be half of a sentence about the president not being prosecuted for conspireing with russia. the attorney general has decided we're not allowed to see the other half of that sentence. we've also got the attorney general's own decoloration, he thinks there shouldn't be prosecution on obstruction of justice. that's nothing he was asked for or expected to provide and required to provide but this is what he's doing. he's keeping the mueller report to himself and making these announcements about it. and after he went out on that limb a week ago tonight saying that there shouldn't be obstruction prosecutions and
here is what you get to know about the president and russia and half a sentence and says everything is fine. after going out on that limb last sunday, now, tonight, we've got this letter where he tries to crawl back up the limb and hug the trunk. tonight, quote, i in no way intended to summarize what mueller has reported. quote, my march letter was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report. when i told you i would convey his principle cononclusions, it weird stuff from the attorney general. feels like a panicking conclusion from the attorney general tonight. i mean, all of this could be very easily cleared up if we did know what mueller did say, if we could see what is in his report. after a week of the president declaring that mueller's report totally exonerates him, i will say my impression what is going on here inside the justice
department as i read this, i think the attorney general william barr is trying to change public expectations about what anybody is ultimately going to see from mueller's findings. i mean, last weekend he announced there would be two categories of information that would be cut out of mueller oos -- mueller's report. first type of information that would be cut out was obtained by the grand jury. stick a pin in that. we'll come back to that in a second. second type, anything related to on going matters, investigations or open cases that revived from mueller's inquiry. why it would take attorney general william barr weeks to cut that information out of mueller's report, that's a strange assertion in its own right. if we've seen nothing else, we have seen that as a matter of course in hundreds of court filings over the entire duration of the mueller investigation, mueller's team made redactions specifically for that purpose,
specifically to not compromise on going investigations and on going criminal cases all the time. almost every single document, any of us in the public reviewed over the course of this whole gigantic investigation had stuff blacked out or blocked out specifically because it related to other open investigations and other open cases. this is a thing that mueller's team does in its sleep. it's hard to believe they would leave the newly appointed 68-year-old attorney general william barr to himself to figure out what mentions in this 400-page report might pertain to open cases. they wouldn't leave that to barr to do that. mueller would have done that. mueller's team would have done that as part of producing anything they handed over. they have done that with every other document they produced in the course of this investigation, you would assume they would be able to do that with this, too. william barr said it's taken him a long time because he had to do that himself. now tonight, in this new
surprise letter from william barr, barr is identifying two additional categories of information he says he wants to cut out of the mueller report even though he didn't mention them last week. he now says in addition to what he talked about last week, he also wants to cut out material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods. and he says he wants to cut out quote, information that would unduly fringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of pthird parties. so let's just take those in turn. on the intelligence stuff, i mean, it may be that what he's trying to say there is that he needs to cut out any classified information in the report. well, yeah, you know, duh. again, you don't release classified material to the public, right? and mueller and his team know how to deal with that. if there is classified material in the report, mueller and his team would have treated
classified information as such. in any report that they provided to him or anyone else. if there is classified material in what mueller found and reported, that would presumably be sequestered in an annex to the report. so only people with necessary clearances could review that material in appropriate settings. they wouldn't leave it personally to old william barr to put on readers and go through it line by line to figure out what in here should be classified. who might need a clearance to see this stuff? i got to buckle down with this report. close the door. hold my calls. and then on top of that, what is this random new category that he says has to be cut out of the mueller report before even congress can see it? in f information that would infringe on pthird parties.
what? the attorney general is going through this report before its released from congress to take out anything that some people might find embarrassing. i mean, where did that standard come from? who counts as a third party? who counts as peven in close fired setting. where is this in the regulations? i mean, the bottom line here is, you know, if as barr says mueller's report is two parts, the russia attack and obstruction, we know very little about what's in the russia part of the report, right? according to barr, he says there is a lengthy discussion of what russia did. how they did it. when it comes to americans being caught up in the attack, we don't know. we have a sentence fragment about not charging trump or his campaign for participating in the russian government attack on
the election, but that's all we've got. okay. there, that's half the report. on obstruction, we also really have no idea as to what is in that part of the report given that the one sentence barr quotes from it says that the president is among other things not exonerated of crimes related to obstruction of justice. now, on mueller's findings in this part of the report, it's fair to surmise that mueller probably didn't write a report about all the times the president definitely didn't obstruct justice. right? i mean, presumably some of what we've got there in the obstruction part of the report is a catalog of problematic and in some cases potentially criminal behavior when it comes to obstruction of justice. so what's going to happen with that information? the president says the report exonerates him totally and he's been saying that for a week based on what william barr said publicly last weekend. now barr is sitting on it for a few more days realizing this is
taking hold and really starting to run with this on the right and white house and republicans in congress. i mean, this thing now kicking around for a week, those expectations out there, the attorney general having released three different evolving statements about what he's doing with the report and what he means when he describes the report and how he's going to from here on out handle the information in the report, it just feels like this is turning into a scramble inside the justice department. in response to the attorney general's newest letter tonight, jerry nadler released this. quote, as i informed the attorney general earlier this week, congress requires the full and complete mueller report without redactions and access to the underlying evidence by april 2nd, which is tuesday. that deadline still stands. as i also informed him rather than expend valuable time and resources trying to keep certain portions of the report from congress, he should work with us to request a court order to release any and all grand jury information to the house judiciary committee as has
occurred in every similar investigation in the past. there is ample president for the department of justice sharing all of the information that the attorney general proposes to redact. again, congress must see the full report. on that issue of grand jury material and the attorney general announcing that he's going to cut all grand jury material out of mueller o's rept and not going to allow congress to see the material, chairman nadler is right that there is ample president for exact rly tt kind of material in exactly this kind of investigation. grand jury information doesn't get released to the public. if it does get released to the public, it's decades down the line, right? historically it pfrequently doe get releaseed to congreeased to
that's what happens in the past, in the ken starr investigation into the white water real estate deal and the president's affair with the white house intern. right? in the leon jawarski investigation. prosecutors made that request to a federal judge so a judge would issue a court order allowing them to convey grand jury information to congress, and in those instances, the judge said yes and the information went to congress. here, jerry nadler is asking for attorney general william barr to work with him and make that request to the judge now so the grand jury information in this report can go to congress like it has in all previous reports like this. jerry nadler is sort of reiterating that point tonight, raising the question of whether or not attorney general william barr is refusing to do that, whether he's refusing to ask a court to release grand jury information to congress in the same way it's been released in all previous reports like this. if he is refusing to make that request of a court, why is he
refusing? if he is repusifusing to make t request to congress, if he's refusing to do it, robert mueller right now is still on the job. can robert mueller make that request of the court? would william barr as attorney general stop mueller from making that request to lease the material to the congress? i mean, i ask at that level of detail because the attorney general does appear to be making this all up as he goes along. as of tonight he's trying to clean up what he's done in the past week since he first got mueller's report. what governs what william barr is doing here? why did he release what he's calling principle conclusions that he says should not be taken as a msummery of what mueller said. what's the basis of redactions he says must be made to the mueller report before anybody is allowed to see it? in part because he needs to protect third parties reputational interests.
i mean, if he's refusing to ask the courts to release grand jury information to congress, i mean, can mueller do that if barr will not? if barr won't let mueller do it, what will happen when the committee in congress inevitably goes to the court themselves and goes around the justice department to do so when they ask a judge to clear them to obtain the grand jury material? and what do you do if you're the chairman of the intelligence committee. they get access to classified information, even very sensitive sources and methods type intelligence material gets briefed to the intelligence committee or at least to the leadership and so-called gang of eight for particular licensetive matters. i mean, nothing gets redacted from you if it's intelligence related information. so if you're the intelligence chairman, what do you do with this letter tonight? upon being informed that as of
tonight, the sensitive intelligence stuff will be cut out before you're allowed to see it. that wasn't true as of last weekend but apparently that's true as of tonight. that's not how this works, none of this is how this is supposed to work. chairman of the intelligence committee joins us next: chairmae committee joins us next: symptoms caused by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy.
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after the new letter from attorney general william barr tonight saying he intends to release some version, some redacted version in mid april, maybe sooner, we got this from adam schiff. he says tonight, quote, congress asked for the entire mueller report and underlying evidence by april 2nd. that deadline stands and in the meantime, barr should seek court approval like in watergate to allow the grand jury release. release the report. joining us is adam schiff of california, chairman of the house intelligence committee. mr. chairman, good to have you here tonight. >> thank you. >> i know you've had a heck of a week being repilloried by the
president and the house. is this a tough week for you? >> it started out as a tough week but the encouragement around the country is much more than i ever would have expected so it ended much better than it started. >> yeah. i got to ask about this notice from the attorney general tonight. i asked you to come on the show tonight and be here tonight because i knew you would be in new york and i wanted to talk to you what happened over the course of the week. i didn't know we would get this notice from the attorney general. i want to ask about the unexpected nature how he's handling this. it strikes me the attorney general is sort of free styling here anded ed ad libbing and ma up what he's trying to portray as being expected of him in this moment. do you know of anything that governs or dictates the way the attorney general is supposed to behave year. >> no, i don't. almost none of what he's doing is required by law or by the
regulations. he certainly didn't need to provide that summery, non-summery presumably in a 400-page report by the special counsel. the special counsel wrote his own summery, and there would have been nothing to preclude bill bar rrkbarr if he wanted a forecast. i have to think that bob mueller wrote his report knowing because he could hear it all around him that the public was going to demand to see it. so i think it likely as you suggested that there is a classified annex when we introduced the intelligence bill every year, we have a classified annex and we have a part we know will be made public, so nothing that barr is doing is required except for the most minimal notification and i thought the most problematic part of this summery, non-summery by bill barr was the seg suggestion that somehow he was compelled to.
that was the flimsiest part of that memo because of course, he wasn't required to opine on that at all and presumably if mueller thought that should have been done he would have done it himself expected that to go to congress and didn't want to put his hand on the scale because if he said not with standing justice department policy against indicting a sitting president, that this president if it weren't for that policy, i would say indict him. he would basically say confwres y -- congress, you need to i impeach. bill barr decided no, that question could shot go to congress without my opinion and i'll add this, it is evenless likely that bob mueller knowing that bill barr applied for the job by sending this unsolicited memo talking about how bob mueller's obstruction theory was bogus, what are the odds that bob mueller would say yeah, let's let that guy decide about my two years of work product.
>> you've worked in the justice department yourself. you were an assistant u.s. attorney. you've been a federal prosecutor. does it -- i mean, my understanding of the way things work here just as observing and reading the news is that it never works in the way where a prosecutor leading an investigation considering to herbal the criminal charges against somebody assembles all the evidence and punts and then the attorney general decides without any recommendation from the prosecutor whether or not those charges will be brought. is that -- >> it is, i think, maybe not that simple because in a normal circumstance where you have a u.s. attorney or assistant u.s. attorney with a high-profile case in some part of the country, they are not conflicted. so if it's a national significance, you might get to main justice and they might weigh in in terms of how it might reflect. if you were going to prosecute a journalist for not disclosing
their sources, that decision is not likely to be made in a field office. it might go to main justice. >> with the recommendation? >> with the recommendation, yes. but here, where the acting attorney general had opined bias and ethics lawyer said you should recuse yourself, and bill barr would likely get the same advice from the ethics lawyers because he showed a bias and the whole point is to avoid even the appearance of inpinproprity, th report should have been produced to the congress without his commentary, but clearly, bill barr views his role in the un r untarry executive theory of being the hand of the president there to do the president's bidding and will and he's doing it just as expected. so he was a brilliant hire for the white house but the
long-term consequence of this is that in the future any president under investigation, if he doesn't like what the attorney general is doing will fire him and find another that's more suitable to his liking because that's the president here and as much as i blame bill barr for not recuruiting himself, i hold the senate more responsible for confirming him without getting a commitment of recusal. >> is thatt precedent less dark? >> we're going to compel the release of the report. this report is all going to come out and it's just going to reflect more poorly on the attorney general if when it does come out and we look at the difference between what he redacted and what was under those redactions it shows an effort to cover up or conceal either evidence of impropriety of evidence of a lack of morals
or ethics or judgment and that is shy of criminality or in the case of obstruction of justice is criminality. we're going to compel this. this is a fight that is worth going to the mat on. bill barr and his confirmation said i'll be as transparent as possible as much as the law or policy would allow, if he was true to those words, as jerry nadler said, he wouldn't be saying i'm cutting all the grand jury material. he would be saying congress, i'm going to the court tomorrow to seek their permission to send it all to you. and i'll tell you this, the other areas he redact about classified information, we get that all the time. information about pending investigation matters gave hundreds of thousands of pages that were both open investigation and investigation material that reflected on the
privacy of third parties and if you don't think so, ask peter strzok or lisa page how they feel about that. >> in terms of the attorney gel re general wants to refact intelligence infar mansion, i have specific questions on that. can you stick with us? >> sure. >> congressman adam schiff is our guest. we'll be right back. adam schif our guest. we'll be right back.
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let me ask you about a few things i have no idea if we'll get these things or not. the scoping memo mueller was allowed to investigate is part of the manafort investigation, we got big, long redactions and you can look where manafort got this and big, long redactions. will we get documents like that unredacted to see what exactly mueller was tasked to investigate? >> we should. and i think that will be part of his report. the introduction says this is the charge we were given, we were supposed to look at this but not this. we therefore didn't consider these other issues and may enumerate them or not. it looks like again, reading the summery non-summery this social media operation that the russians were running, the hacking and dumping operation the russians were running, those two areas squarely within the special counsel's jurisdiction, other things like moscow trump tower, which don't fit in either bucket, may only have been viewed from the perspective of does it tell us something about
the obstruction case because the president's lawyer lied to the congress about it, but that moscow trump tower, which holds the potential of dangling money in front of donald trump could be far more compromising than some of these other issues, which is part of the reason why we in congress need to get the report on the counter intelligence part of the investigation, not just the criminal part. >> do you think that would be a separate report or that would have been part of what was given to barr? i don't know but i suspect it is really not in this report. and i think that the report was designed to be about these are the prosecutions we made to prosecute these folks, not these folks. here is the reason why. it's a prosecutor memo. it isn't this is what we found. these are the risk of compromise. this is what the russians try to do. some of that will be relevant to the criminal case but a great
portion will not. >> if there were findings from mueller, money being dangled, somebody taking action that's beneficial to russia because they hope to get something from the russian government, if that's not in mueller's report, how are you ultimately going to get briefed on that? how will the american people find out about that? >> by statute. the intelligence committee is required to brief congress on any significant intelligence or counter intelligence activity and so there has been no more significant counter intelligence investigation, that is an investigation into what a foreign power may be doing to influence americans, there is no more significant counter intelligence than this one in my lifetime and so we will be briefed on it because they are required to be. what form that will take, we don't know. we've begun out reach to the intelligence community and the fbi to find out but that has always been really front and center of the intelligence committee.
we don't have a criminal charge. our investigation from the beginning to present has always been predominantly concerned with is a foreign power exerting influence over the president, people around him in such a way that it would warp u.s. policy in a way that was not in the national interest? >> do you think we'll also get a list of the people that talk to mueller while we get the witness list? >> i don't think he'll give us a witness list and again, this is obviously guesswork at this point. i think what we will have is a narrative. >> yeah. >> about different parts of the investigation and who the players were. if there are people they brought before the grand jury or interviewed who really didn't have something all that valuable to share, i don't think their name will appear just to have a comprehensive list, but i would imagine a 400-page report has exhibits far more than 400 pages. whether it's a list of everyone they talked to and search warrant they executed, subpoena
they issued, i suppose it's possible. >> i would keep you here for longer but i know you have to go because you have to travel. please come back and talk to us and i congratulate you on having more nicknames from the president than anybody else, none of them are sticking thus far but i think if you stay in this job, ultimately you might hit the record. >> it's a badge of honor. >> thank you, sir. >> thanks. lots more to come tonight, stay with us. thanks. lots more to come tonight, stay with us t even in a gown ♪ ♪ and the only thing u have to say is wow ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop drop say oh my drop drop drop ♪ ♪ make u say oh my god my drop drop ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop make u say oh my god ♪ ♪ and you never felt this type of emotion ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop drop say oh my drop drop drop ♪ ♪ make u say oh my god my drop drop ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop make u say oh my god ♪
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in his new letter released tonight, bill barr said everybody misinterpreted his previous letter. he said it was never meant to be a summery but instead a summery of the principle conclusions. oh. nowhere in the special counsel regulations does it say the attorney general is supposed to report on the principle conclusions of anything. all he's supposed to do under the regulations as far as i can tell is he's supposed to tell congress the investigation is over. not really supposed to do anything else. nevertheless, attorney general barr's letter today gives us an expanded list of what he says he plans to redact from mueller's report before congress can see it. on sunday that list was comprised of two things, grand jury material and information that could impact on going investigations. but tonight, he's added two more categories of information he's planning on cutting, intelligence information as we discussed with adam schiff and
also this odd duck, quote, information that would unduly fringe on the person privacy and reputational interests of third parties. otherwise known as embarrassing stuff about people i don't want to name. i mean, i am not a lawyer, but i can control f my way through the special counsel regulations, and i just don't see anything like that that's guiding what the attorney general is doing here and what the attorney general is doing here is apparently going to determine what we the public are allowed to know about this most serious investigation. the grounds on which the attorney general is acting appears to be dislocated from what we thought was the legal basis of this part of this whole investigation. joining us now is a man who knows that wrote the doj regulations defining the office of special counsel and acting solicitor general. thank you for joining us on a friday night. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> you know these regulations
better than anybody. my sense is that attorney general william barr is freelancing here and finding his own way and responding to his receipt of the mueller report in a way that isn't that isn't necessarily prescribed by these regulations. is that fair? >> absolutely. you said before that the way it's working now is not the way it's supposed to work. that's exactly right. that started last week with all of the celebrations by the trump folks when the barr letter was released saying total exoneration and things like that, and, you know, i said at that point i felt it was very premature. i felt this is a bunch of dartmouth students looking for a party and trying to find an excuse or something like that. that's really, you know, what i think we're starting to see the seeds of after one week. we learned today it's a 400-page mueller report that barr purported to have the top line conclusions of in his four-page memo. we knew last week that barr took it on himself to decide and issue that mueller wouldn't
decide whether the president had obstructed justice. all in a matter of 48 hours and in a four-page memo. you know, this is looking increasingly problematic, and as you said earlier, this looks panicky today. >> he has suggested that there is a number of categories of information that he is going to excise from the report, not only before it's released to the public, but before it's released to congress. the one -- one of those categories is grand jury information. and obviously grand jury information is secret. we the public never expect that stuff to be released to us under the normal course of events, but what do you make of the way he's treating that, particularly if that's the major quantity of information that he's trying to cut out of this and deny access, even for congress? >> i mean, two things. one is grand jury information, you can go to a court and get it released, as you said earlier. that's exactly what happened in nixon. it's been seven days now since the mueller report was delivered to barr. he hasn't even bothered to go to court to try and do that.
he could do that right now and say, court, release this information to congress. that's what happened in past investigations. the fact that he won't do it is really suspicious and tells me at least there is information in the mueller report that bar doesn't want to come out and i don't think it's for up and up reasons, i think it's because it is embarrassing to the president. and that leads me to my second point, which is as you said, they started with -- barr started with two categories of information that he would le redact. we're now up to four. next week i suppose it's eight and the week after that 16 or something, you know, in one of those ones today is privacy interests of third parties. i don't know what that means. i don't know if he thinks trump is a third party or trump jr. or jared or the like, but i do know this, you know, the taxpayers paid for this report that mueller wrote and it goes to some of the most sensitive, you know, important things that every member of the american public should know about, and there is no excuse whatsoever for it being hidden from the congress and the american
people. >> neal katyal, former acting special counsel in the mueller administration. thanks for your clarity on this, neal. it's great to have you here. >> thank you. >> all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. right we'll be right back. stay with us i can't tell you who i am or what i witnessed, but i can tell you liberty mutual customized my car insurance so i only pay for what i need. oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no... only pay for what you need. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ our grandparents checked zero times a day. times change. eyes haven't. that's why there's ocuvite. screen light... sunlight... longer hours...
you know reliable support when you have it, and that dependability is what we want to give our customers. at comcast, it's my job to constantly monitor our network. prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work in the network operations center for comcast. we are working to make things simple, easy and awesome. stand by. stand by for big ben. stand by. okay, go. [ clock ringing ] >> that is big ben, the iconic british landmark that sits atop
a clock tower at the north end of the houses of parliament in westminster in london. big ben has been ringing since 1859 when it became, quote, the biggest, accurate, four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. take that. big ben survived the blitz during world war ii. it went dark but it never went silent. big ben can be heard on the radio before british newscasts. those chimes are used, of course, to mark holidays. big ben, resilient, consistent. it is a big, solid sure thing in the whole wide world. it is also now unexpectedly progetic and that is our final story tonight. that's next. stay with us. story tonight. that's next. stay with us
he said that two years ago today and you know what happened next? they closed big ben for repairs. no bongs at all for four years until 2021. and now no brexit. as of tonight the uk was supposed to be leaving the european union, but brexit is a mess and a disaster. tens of thousands of brits swarmed the streets near parliament in protest today after lawmakers shot down theresa may's brexit plan yet another time. this vote brings britain closer to crashing out of the european union without any sort of net. the clock is ticking. the eu has given britain a new deadline now of april 12th to leave or figure something else out. parliament is going to meet again on monday to see if they can agree on any plan at all. whatever they decide, though, big ben will not help. it will not be celebrated with a bing bong at all, but with some sort of whimper and probably more protests in the streets. we will see you again on monday. i hope you have anxc